Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

  1. TOC
  2. back
  3. next

Tales from the tower

The first Newsletter of 2015 contained an enjoyable account of the Welford-on-Avon ringers outing in October last year which brought back a few memories of my own visits to those towers.

Powick certainly are a heavy handful, albeit easier to ring since receiving attention in the last decade - I rang a peal there 45 years ago this July with Michael Uphill conducting (4 minor methods) and remember the 2 hours and 58 minutes of heat and perspiration. We took a "liquid" lunch and then proceeded to Chaddesley Corbett to ring a peal of Oxney Surprise Major!

Ringing on the anti-clockwise octave at Kempsey shouldn't be a challenge for the more experienced ringer, but having enjoyed the sound of Superlative for 1279 changes I was a little infuriated when the conductor shouted "that's all" for 3 of the band to ring to the right and the quarter peal didn't come round.

The tenor bell at Madresfield suffered a gudgeon pin failure back in 2004 and I went along to assist in recovering the bell from being wedged on its side in the bell pit - the subsequent remodelling of the bells requiring the complete dismantling of the Gillett & Bland (c. 1868) carillon machine "summerhouse" and operating linkages to allow the bells to be removed (and returned) to the tower. The carillon hasn't worked for over half a century and costs would be prohibitive to restore it (a proposed move to the Swan Tower in Perth at that time was quashed).

Photo: Arthur Berry demonstrating how to "drive" the carillon machine to Robert Heir of Worcester.

Sufficient has been said of Welland, which is probably why Geoff Drew arranged the 25 Minor method peal we rang in 1970 to be down the road at Hanley Swan (tenor 8 cwt - now a delightful rehung 6 worth a visit).

Lastly Hanley Castle, which received a full bearing overhaul a decade or so ago. I remember my youngest son, on school exam leave, coming along to help and gainfully manhandling the one tonne chain block up the staircase in a bucket and shouting down in an exhausted voice that the door at the top was locked. Arthur Berry and I smiled at each other. We'd forgotten to tell him that he only needed to take the gear up to the ringing chamber!

'Roger de Flaedenburg' (and photo is by him)